John Mitala hands over office to Lucy Nakyobe

After more than 48 years in public service, Dr John Mitala has handed over office as the head of public service and secretary to cabinet to Lucy Nakyobe, the former State House comptroller.

Nakyobe was appointed during the recent reshuffle of permanent secretaries by President Yoweri Museveni on July 15 - ending Mitala’s 19-year tenure at the helm, having been appointed to the position in 2002. Nakyobe will be deputized by Deborah Katuramu.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the Office of the President in Kampala on Wednesday, Milly Babalanda, the minister for the Presidency hailed Mitala as a distinguished civil servant, who has left a trail of being incorruptible. Babalanda said, unlike many civil servants who look at government jobs as means of getting rich, Mitala’s name has never been cited in any corruption scandal.

"Your outstanding performance will be remembered for a very long time in the Public Service of Uganda and generally in the East African Community. You have exhibited the highest qualities of a civil servant - a true proponent of the civil service and code of ethics.

Many Ugandans believe that serving in a public office means enriching oneself with quick monies. However, for the time that I have known you, sir, I have not heard your name in any public scandal. I want you, and request you to maintain this level of integrity for the remaining part of your service to humanity." said Babalanda.

Mitala joined the civil service on May 25 1973 working in the ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development where he was for 19 years. He later served as deputy head of the Public Service Commission and Judicial Service Commission and deputy head of public service and secretary for administration from 1998 up to 2002 when he was appointed as the head of the public service and secretary to the cabinet.

On his part, Mitala thanked the president for giving him the opportunity to serve in such a high position for a long time. He pledged to continue being of help to those who have replaced him using his new position as senior presidential advisor on public service.

Nakyobe also praised Mitala for his exemplary leadership and pledged to undertake her new responsibilities with the seriousness it deserves. She thanked Museveni for the trust he has in her and appointed her in positions of responsibility.

"I would like to thank the president for this expression of confidence in our ability to make the public service and I pledge to do the utmost during the years I will be here - with your support. To be appointed head of public service and secretary to cabinet is a significant event in my life.

I do feel proud and humbled to serve in that purpose.. 31 years ago, I was fresh in public service, I joined on the 22nd February 1990. I never imagined that someday, I would be appointed to head the public service. I am here today, not because I am better or more intelligent than anybody else, but am here because of the grace of our Lord. I have the competence and the experience." said Nakyobe. By URN, The Observer